How to Spot a Protein Powder Scam

How to Spot a Protein Powder Scam

Picture this, you’re rolling through your local big-box store with your girlfriend. She’s looking at all the great patio furniture and the plants.

You’re rolling your eyes a bit because you want to get out of there as quickly as possible, but she just drags the shopping on and on.

But then you catch it out of the corner of your eye. It’s a stack of dog food sized sacks of whey protein. “8lbs for only $35!” you gasp exuberantly.

You throw two sacks onto the cart, telling your girl it’s a great deal. She knows you gotta get those gains, so she tacitly nods her head in approval.

Then, later that night, after you’ve had your pre-bedtime shake, she immediately regrets it as a putrid smell arises from under the covers. You know what I’m talking about.

You just got protein jacked…

Most likely, you’ll keep taking it because you don’t want to admit that you’re wrong, but the reality is that you just wasted your money on a protein that’s not going to do much except stick up your sheets and go down your toilet.

As you know, the world of supplements is full of shady characters looking to make a quick buck off of ignorant wannabe muscle heads.

Many of the products they produce are mislabeled, spiked with cheap and inferior ingredients, or manufactured in ways that deteriorate the base nutrition of the product to save a few dollars.

Here’s what you need to avoid when it comes to protein powders.

Denaturing from Heat

A little known fact about protein is that it’s made up of peptides. Peptides are chains of amino acids linked up in molecules.

Here’s the thing about peptides: they don’t like heat very much and when exposed to it, the conformation of these molecules changes.

The problem is that the cheapest way to isolate protein is to use a high heat process and this how many of the cheapest protein powders get made.

Now, I know what you’re going to say, “but I cook my eggs and chicken!”

Correct, unless you want to meet my friend Sal Manilla, you need to do that.

But we’re also talking far lower heat temperatures. You don’t burn your eggs and chicken to a crisp.

That’s what happens when protein powders are heat processed.

My suggestion: make sure that you use a protein powder that’s cold-processed like 1stPhorm’s Phormula 1.

Full disclosure, we are an affiliate, and purchasing this product from that link will result in a commission that helps to fund the Warrior Soul Podcast. So if you hate us, and you hate all the work we do for the Veteran community, don’t buy it. I would not have affiliated with them if they were not a top-notch company that made quality products.

Casein Catastrophe

Back in the day, I used to drink casein like it was water because people told me that I needed a “slow-digesting protein to fuel me through the day and night.”

Bad idea. I attribute many of the horrible digestive problems I’ve had to overconsumption of casein protein and casein supplements.

Casein turns into a gel in the digestive tract. It also has a similar structure to the interior lining of your intestines. Some believe that this similar structure can actually cause your immune system to attack your intestinal lining.

While the studies are unclear if this is actually the case, I ended up with a nasty case of ulcerative colitis.

My suggestion is to avoid casein protein and instead go with a protein mix with a sustained assimilation matrix like 1stPhorm’s Level 1.

Weight Gainer Blues

Avoid weight gainers like the plague. There is not one that I know of that isn’t packed with sugar or sugar labeled as something else. If you want massive diarrhea and a pre-diabetic state of blood sugar then go ahead. But otherwise, I’d avoid anything with the word “gainer” or “gains” in the title.


Some companies go the extra mile in ripping you off by spiking their protein count.

How do they do this?

Well, they know that their protein count will be determined via a nitrogen test.

So they add extra nitrogen or cheaper individual amino acids to the mix.

They get to say that there are 50 grams of protein in the supplement, and you get to waste your hard-earned money.

The Best Solution: Whole Food Sources

I probably don’t need to tell you that all of this could be avoided if you just stick with whole food sources of protein like eggs, beef, fish, and chicken.

But I also know that you don’t have all the time in the world to cook and that you’ll probably end up using a protein supplement anyway.

So if you’re going to buy protein, buy quality.

Additional Reading

Last year, I wrote an article for Testosterone Nation titled, “Get More Out of Your Protein: How to Make Every Gram of Protein Count.”

In that article, I argue that, while protein is the most important macronutrient you can eat, it’s not so much about how much protein you can eat, it’s about how much you digest and absorb. I also reveal how you can get more out of your protein by avoiding certain food combinations, chewing your food, and taking care of your digestive health.

Check it out, and let me know what you think.